Does honesty make you vulnerable? This is the question that is pestering me day and night, of late. In a world of reigning hypocrisy, disguise, exploitation, dishonesty, back-stabbing, cut-throat rivalry and perversion in the name of everything that is human, where does an honest person stand?
It is utter stupidity to be scrupulously honest would say the skeptical. Most honest people are because they do not weigh the implications of their forthrightness. What impact it may or may not have on the other person. They are just happy that they have expressed their mind and kept their conscience clear. They go for the absolute not the surface value. But there is nothing absolute in this world. It’s a myth! Utopia!
Tactless? Yes, definitely so, to be honest. What is tact then? It’s the other name for diplomacy. When one minces words and tries to give a nice picture where there exists none. Or paints half-truths in overly convincing manner so as not to induce ripples on the surface of calm waters. Tact reinforces human faith in illusion and beguile, in misguided expedience and in deliberate pretense.
Honesty, like sincerity, does not always pay. Why? Because honesty is not in the larger interest of the society/civilization/creation et all. It is divinely engineered for the demon to reside with the angel in the name of ecological balance in this vast matrix of cosmic interplay. And honesty being an angelic quality has to make way for the satanic vices. Otherwise how would God make His presence felt?
Having said all that, one would take for granted that it is prudent to have a blanched variety of virtues in any equation be it personal relationship or any other arrangement of work convenience or social obligation. Remember what happened to Tess when she bared her heart to Angel Clare? She was condemned and left alone to fend for herself, definitely not forgiven. Or can you think of giving a no-holds-barred appraisal of what you think of your boss at work place? It will be blasphemous! Disastrous!
So, honesty runs the highest risk of being misunderstood, misconstrued and mangled. Like all other virtues, honesty too has an inbuilt quotient of defeat… of being compromised. So what is the option we are left with? The exact opposite one where you let situation decide how best your moves can be so as to have an upper hand over your opponent/partner/rival/negotiator/boss. And the smarter and cleverer your maneuvers are, successful and worldly wise you stand to be in people’s eyes.
Strange, that is, I always wonder why then the virtues have at all been conceived, classified and brandished as timeless? The only reason seems to be that eternally they exist to be shortchanged and increasingly devalued, invariably diffused with certain amount of opportunism and our damned sense of convenience.
I have tried to be honest in most situations. Again, I have tried and that is an honest statement, idiotically so. And always made myself prone to jeers, conjectures of the worst order and misrepresentations. Yet, unfailingly I have pursued the path which makes me feel good and unalloyed. So is there a feel good factor about honesty? Yes, to those who wish to have a stronger voice and a clearer conscience in life! Who feel they have never intentionally betrayed or made use of others or benefitted at the expense of the ones whom they can easily trample upon and emerge victorious. But then honesty is just a feeling…a feeling perhaps a little down market. A feeling which does put you on a pedestal. A feeling which does not lend you an enviable fan-following.
And is it easy to be honest? To those who are prone to this disease? No, it’s not. More so because honesty is basically of two types – (1) when you are honest about others or given situations and (2) when you are honest about your own self. And it is the second type that is the hardest because it is not just a tendency or a knack, it is a continuous yet disturbing process. A process of finding yourself out, a process to probe your fears, a process whereby you come face to face with your darkness of mind and soul, a process by which you realize that you still have so much to overcome – your inhibitions, your dreads, your failings, your follies. Harder it is to confess. You may be true to yourself but to be true to others? That is when you become victimized of other’s perceptions. Whether those perceptions are correct or incorrect is relative. But it is then that you are judged, evaluated and thrown aside as an ignominy and seldom extolled for your courage and commitment. A commitment for being true to your own self and others.
So in the final analysis, the utility value of honesty is sub-zero. The risk hazards are aplenty. Then what does one gain out of honesty? For being foolishly open to criticism and falsehood? Mere soul satisfaction? Mere adherence to your self-inflicted principles? Ego fulfillment? Or is it something beyond these experiments with your own self?
I am still musing…trying to find an answer in the maze of unsolvable riddles. What lies beyond the choice of not taking the easy route and stumbling along the difficult path? It is the fire which is kindled to rise above the ashes of your own labyrinthine mind, your own camouflaging intellect, your own blinding truths, your own judgmental intelligence and your own spineless endeavours of evolving in spite of yourself into a better human being. And that itself is reason strong enough to be foolishly yourself in a world of astute go-getters.
It is that torch that lights your way to ultimate freedom of unshackled and unburdened existence. And it is to this light that I bow my head and pray that may I be provided the strength to be on this route forever at the cost of being a loser, of being isolated and left alone.
May I pursue undeterred that leads to YOU…………the divinity of my core!!! The Honest One…